Population-based study of non-infectious rhinitis in relation to occupational exposure, age, sex, and smoking

Am J Ind Med. 2002 Jul;42(1):23-8. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10083.


Background: Many types of occupational exposure are associated with the risk of non-infectious rhinitis. We investigate the risk factors for this association.

Methods: A random population of 2,044 subjects (aged 21-51) answered a questionnaire that was comprised of detailed questions on occupational exposure, nasal complaints, and smoking. NIR was defined as the sensation of nasal blockage and/or attacks of sneezing without having a cold. The incidence rates for NIR among exposed and unexposed were calculated. In the different exposed groups, only NIR with onset after the start of exposure was regarded as exposed. If a subject reported NIR before the relevant exposure started, he/she was excluded from that analysis. Relative risks (RR) were calculated as incidence rate ratios. Odds ratios controlling for smoking, age, and atopy were also calculated.

Results: The incidence rate for NIR was 13.5/1,000 person-years. Males exposed to fire fumes (RR 2.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5-4.1), women exposed to paper dust (RR 2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.9), and male cleaners (RR 3.1, 95% CI 1.9-5.1) displayed an increased risk of developing NIR. Smoking was associated with an increased risk of NIR for both sexes.

Conclusions: Exposure to several occupational irritants is associated with a higher risk of developing NIR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Occupations*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Random Allocation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis / etiology
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology